Djan done Malaysian drifting proud

Published on December 21st, 2009

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It was written in the thread marks on the asphalt and what better place for it to be fulfilled than in front of his home crowd as Tengku Djan Ley bagged top honours at the inaugural Goodyear Formula Drift Malaysia series.

Sak Nana Kiki from our northern neighbours was the bridesmaid and Kiwi Mad Mike gave Goodyear something to smile about by completing the podium.

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Building on the arousing qualifying round the previous day that saw the country’s top drifter lead the pack, Djan of Team Bridgestone drifted like a man on a mission to, demolish, defeat, destroy, destruct and just plain wipeout everyone that came in his way to finally clinch a Formula Drift title that was a long time coming.

Over 12,000 fans packed the Malaysian Agro-Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) to watch the epic battles that took place as the 53 participating drifters were cut down to the Top-32 that was then whittled down to the Sweet-16, Elite-8, Final-4 and lastly the Big-2.

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There was no denying who the crowd was behind as Djan did no wrong and his every move was cheered on with a passion that could just be the catalyst for growth drifting needs to expand and keep par with the regional drifting scenes like Thailand and the Philippines.

The Sweet-16 saw Djan lining up against Tyrepac Goodyear driver Yoong, himself a well accomplished and household name in the drifting scene. Nonetheless, Djan and his fully prepped Nissan Sil1580 were on another level and he proceeded to make short work of Yoong with good speed and clean lines, sticking closely to the Tyrepac Goodyear Nissan Skyline R32 whilst his turn to follow.

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The next match-up was another all Malaysian affair with Nazrul ‘Along’ Afifi and his Team Toyo Nissan Cefiro A31 taking on Ah Heng in his Advan Yokohama Toyota Corolla AE86. Along’s NOS setup was cranky and although he decided to run without NOS, turbo power proved enough to defeat Ah Heng and move on to the next round.

Next up was Malaysian Mervyn Nakamura in the Federal Tyres Cefiro A31 and Indonesian Rhenadi ‘Rhe’ Arinton piloting the Goodyear Indonesia Nissan 180SX. Both drivers were on par but Mervyn edged Rhe for the win and step up.

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Malaysian Ser Ming Hui lined up against Chaiyos for the next tsuiso battle and the local made short work of the Thai drifter with some impressive lines and good speed. During his run in the lead, Ming Hui did open up quite a gap that made the outcome all too obvious.

Hanizam ‘Loyai’ Hamzah stepped up with Kulachart and progressed to the next round with a sharp run.

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Team Bridgestone drifter Tan Tat Wei was paired with Sak Nana Kiki of the PTT team. Thai Kiki, that bears more than a striking resemblance to local comedian Harith Iskandar (sorry, we couldn’t resist and had to add that), put in a cracking run to move advance. Tat Wei going under in the second run and narrowly missing T-boning Kiki made the judges decision all the easier as well.

On paper, the next clash would have been the battle royale that might have defined the event but unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to expectations as the match-up of Mad Mike with his Redbull Goodyear RX-7, aptly christened ‘Madbul,’ and Ryuji Miki failed to ignite into the power-packed explosive that it looked to be. However, Mad Mike did heat things up by literally parking his front right fender to Miki’s left door during the last run to discard the ex-FD champion.

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Last of the Sweet-16 was another all-Malaysian pairing of Team Bridgestone’s Ivan Lau and Team FX Formula’s Faireen Ismail. Ivan wasted no time and made the most of his nimble Corolla AE86 to shadow the Cefiro A31 of Faireen and came out tops.

With 15 of the Top-32 qualifiers being Malaysian, all-local match-ups were to be expected and in the first pairing in the Elite-8 was no different. Djan found himself lining up next to Along.

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This time around, it wasn’t such a walk in the park for the Prince of Drift as Along gave him a decent run for his money in the first run. However, Along overcooked in the second run, effectively handing victory to Djan.

Mervyn lined-up against Ming Hui next and the former overcame the latter to move ahead.

Kiki and Loyai followed and the Thai drifter once again put in a solid performance to push aside local drifter Loyai.

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The final Elite-8 round saw Mad Mike and Ivan Lau clashing. The judges’ decision was clearly not in favour with the crowd as Mike progressed after the duo’s cars had more than just a firm handshake during the run. Nonetheless, the judges deemed Mike worthy of completing the Final-4.

A spot in the final was at stake and that was all the motivation Djan needed as he kept close to the Cefiro A31 of Mervyn after the wall all the way to the finish line. Add his excellent first run into the mix and Djan was the clear winner.

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Completing the Big-2 would either be Kiki or Mad Mike and the battle that ensued showed that both drifters knew what was at stake. Things were well balanced after the first run but on the second run Mike nudged the rear of Kiki’s Nissan Silvia S15 at the final turn and left the Thai drifter facing the way he came from.

Things were left hanging for a while though as at the moment of the clash, the purple smoke from Kiki’s Achilles tyres clouded the entire track. Even video playbacks left everyone in a cloud of uncertainty but Kiki finally made it through.

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Later on, Mad Mike admitted it was his fault, “The smoke was just too thick and next thing I knew, he (Kiki) was 90-degrees in front of me leaving me with no place to go but directly into him.”

So it was an all South East Asian final as Djan and Kiki prepared to take home the all-carbon fiber trophy.

Before that though, third place was up for grabs and Mad Mike made no mistake this time as he stuck close to Mervyn all around the wall to give Goodyear some cheer by taking third spot.

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So then, onto the final that took 2 two one-more-times (OMT) for the winner to be declared. In all honestly though, Djan looked to have wrapped it up after the initial two runs. He was on fire and drove like a demon, pulling away while leading and literally shadowing Kiki after the role reversal.

Nonetheless, the judges, compromising of Formula Drift judges Ryan Sage, Andy Yen and Daijiro ‘Dai’ Yoshihara, saw it fit to call a OMT.

The next two runs were quite evenly matched though as Kiki stepped up his game and kept pace with Djan slightly better.

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Another OMT was called and this time around there was no mistaking who the winner was as Djan pulled out his A-game and was wheelspins ahead. Expectedly, the crowd went postal as the screen flashed the Djan as the winner.

Djan was ecstatic at his victory and took the opportunity to quash hearsay that he won’t be lining up on the grid next year, “There have been rumours that I won’t be taking part next year but rest assured I will be on the grid come next year to give the other drifters a run for their money.”

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The climaxing of the Goodyear Formula Drift Malaysia saw the completion of the three-part Formula Drift series in the region that saw our southern neighbours host the first leg with the Formula DRIFT Singapore ProAm Series 2009 in July and Thailand doing the honours for the second leg with Formula Drift Thailand in November.

“Goodyear’s very first Formula Drift Malaysia was sizzling with red-hot action. It is certainly an honor to be part of this exhilarating event. Having such a number of international and local drivers competing only underscores our commitment to raise drifting standards to an international level,” said Richard Fleming, Managing Director, Goodyear Asean.

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“There is also a high degree of synergy between drifting, a motorsport that places strong emphasis on advanced technology and precision driving and performance tires. Our ultra high performance tires put up a fantastic showing the last two days,” he added.

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“We are very pleased that the inaugural Goodyear Formula Drift Malaysia has been a huge success. The quality of the drivers competing here is certainly world class and the excellent crowd turnout has certainly set a new benchmark for the competition in the region. It is very encouraging to be a part of the continued advancement of the Malaysian motorsports scene, as well as a catalyst to spark the development of local talent,” said Harvey Davis, Vice-President, ESPN STAR Sports Events Management Group.

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If you weren’t lucky enough to catch the event live you better stay tuned to ESPN Star Sports as they will be broadcasting the event highlight programme on its channel soon.

For more information, www.formuladrift.com.my is just a click away.

text: Dinesh Appavu  pix: Dinesh Appavu & Syafril Ismail

Comments

  1. Posted by ZaidGSR on December 21st, 2009, 08:36

    nice event!

  2. Posted by xpitt on December 21st, 2009, 09:07

    kudos Tengku Djan…yay!

Reply

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